Author Topic: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan  (Read 1464 times)

tag

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Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« on: January 20, 2019, 08:57:00 AM »
I've posted about this project before, there have been several developments and my plan and service has evolved. Here is my current plan:

We are FI. My husband still works full time making good money.
We have a lot on our plate with 4 young kids (2, 4, 6, 8) and an old home requiring lots of home projects/renovation.
 I strongly desire meaningful, purposeful, creative work.

1) Purchase commercial building for $325 (don't release yet, but get your fist ready)
2) Full apartment upstairs is short-term rental bringing in $1500/mo initially but could easily move to $3,000/mo.
3) Lease the downstairs to myself for $3,000/mo.

Business = co-working space with onsite/flexible/highly educational (I homeschool)/drop-in childcare.
1) stay and play (indoor play space is comfortable and pleasing for both parents and children)
2) coworking (separate rooms for parents to work/spend time focused and uninterrupted, kids remain in staffed kid area)
3) small element of drop-off care....only 4-6 spots, designed for parents to utilize 2-3 hours at a time)

So you see I envision having two businesses running alongside and complementing each other.
Commercial real estate ownership + business leasing from myself to myself.

My commercial landlord piece numbers:
expenses = $37,000/annually including mortgage
income = $60,000 - $75,000 ($60k first year)
Need about $75k cash up front. I have that cash. I'd get a loan for the rest.
The building shares a parking lot with a high end spa/salon, high end boutique workout place, CPA, lawyer, high end restaurant, dentist....all the places you need to go for an hour or two without your kids.

Business numbers:
Income streams:
1) stay and play
2) coworking
3) drop-off care
4) up to 8 small summer camps/year (small groups, not always in summer, willing to do 1 per quarter, 2 age groups)
5) unstaffed space rental
6) programming (not much, a little yoga, occasional classes/workshops)
^^I am only offering what I am willing to spend my time thinking about and spend my time doing. For example I want nothing to do with 185 kids at 12 weeks of summer camp.


I have run numbers a thousand times in a thousand different ways.
Year One income $176,000 and Year One Expenses $179, 000
My numbers include 3 well paid part time employees. Me being onsite 60 hours/week is a dealbreaker for me and I won't do it if that is required. Though I will commit to that willingly for the first 12-18 months to make sure it all grows the way I want it to.

The culture of the town we live in is ABSOLUTELY set up for something like this and there is nothing else like it. There is actually nowhere to go and be with your family indoors except for bars and restaurants. Except the library. 75% of homeowners in our town are second/third homeowners. We are flooded with tourists through winter and summer and on weekends all year long. We have 3,000 full time residents.

My entire heart and soul wants to do this. I want to support other families and parents so badly. A lot of indoor play spaces are designed for kids. And while I'll do that, my true focus is to unburden parents in any way I can think of. My kids could be onsite with me when I needed/wanted to be there virtually at any time. It would attract the kind of people I want to be around - both on the part-time employee side and the customer side. My previous soloprenuer gig was professional organizing - I love to organize and plan space for families (especially with an enriching/educational mindset) and I am really good at it. I also like to think of programming ideas/education offerings for all ages, and I thoroughly enjoy planning with other "ideas people" - collaborating with other local business owners is part of what is attractive to me about my plan.

Ok. Fire away. I can take it.



Papa bear

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2019, 10:02:00 AM »
I don’t hate it. 

Plan on some crazy insurance though with on site childcare.  More than just general liability. 




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tag

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2019, 05:24:33 PM »
I donít hate it.   

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Tell me more about that.

Papa bear

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2019, 09:43:53 PM »
As for your situation - you’re FI, partner works, you can take a risk or 2.  Worst case, you spin your wheels on a few years of low to no returns and you still have an asset to sell at the end.  You seem to want to do something more, so why not take a shot at this?

As a business, the coworking space is really hot right now, like ridiculous popularity.  Also the drop your kid off to a play zone and drink coffee/work in the next room over is the same way. Ridiculous popularity on these places. 

If your area doesn’t have it yet, why not be the one to start it? 

As for the commercial property, make sure you have a good tenant in place for the other unit.  And make sure that you can re rent your own business space in the event you want to stop working again.  It might not be the best real estate investment in the world, but you aren’t bankrupting yourself on it.

So.  Go for it. 




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AccidentialMustache

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2019, 10:06:34 PM »
https://www.lodgic.org/

They seem pretty popular on the childcare, coworking, and cafe/restaurant dimensions. I don't know if their gym is busy. It isn't when I've been there, but I'm using after-hours/weekend child care mainly.

BicycleB

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2019, 10:37:14 PM »
Taking your statements at face value, it sounds like a reasonable thing to try. I assume your likely loss if you fail would be a couple hundred thousand bucks and that you can live with that. My assumption is that the building can and will be successfully repurposed or sold in the event the business fails, without much loss on property, limiting loss to the business's make-ready and operating expenses. If the building is the former church (?) referred to in another thread and your potential losses are larger, take that into account and consider ignoring the paragraph below - don't take on a possible loss that's bigger than you can afford. Maybe work the deal to minimize the property risk, perhaps by leasing with an option to buy?

You've done numbers, what you don't have is proof that it will work. I assume that you won't have it until you try your idea. If you can find similar businesses in other places, obviously analyze the ones that worked to determine what's similar to your town and different; also look for similar cases that failed, and what the similarities are to your town. If the examples mostly show failure, find out why. Otherwise - well, go for it and tell us what happens!  :)
« Last Edit: January 20, 2019, 10:45:57 PM by BicycleB »

MarciaB

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2019, 11:06:05 PM »
What kind of regulations are there in your area around the child to adult ratio for daycare/childcare? The stay and play - would that be considered a daycare (and subject to limits on the number of kids to adults)? What I'm asking here is for the constraints on the revenue (the number of kids).

And of course the staffing needed (adult childcare workers) is dependent on those ratios. If you're doing drop-in care it might be hard to predict how many adults you'll need at any time, meaning you might be understaffed (and have to turn kids away), or overstaffed (and spending money on employees who are idle because there aren't kids to occupy them).

tag

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2019, 06:32:37 AM »
Taking your statements at face value, it sounds like a reasonable thing to try. I assume your likely loss if you fail would be a couple hundred thousand bucks and that you can live with that. My assumption is that the building can and will be successfully repurposed or sold in the event the business fails, without much loss on property, limiting loss to the business's make-ready and operating expenses. If the building is the former church (?) referred to in another thread and your potential losses are larger, take that into account and consider ignoring the paragraph below - don't take on a possible loss that's bigger than you can afford. Maybe work the deal to minimize the property risk, perhaps by leasing with an option to buy?

You've done numbers, what you don't have is proof that it will work. I assume that you won't have it until you try your idea. If you can find similar businesses in other places, obviously analyze the ones that worked to determine what's similar to your town and different; also look for similar cases that failed, and what the similarities are to your town. If the examples mostly show failure, find out why. Otherwise - well, go for it and tell us what happens!  :)

Not the church! This building is a THOUSAND times more simple and less expensive than the 100 yo church.

I offered to lease or lease to buy. Owner wants to sell. But if I don't want to offer enough, maybe they'd reconsider just to get out.

I have spoken in depth to just a couple other owners of similar businesses and stocked hundreds online. I like your idea of that kind of research. But I find it really hard to compare. Nobody else is doing co-working with onsite childcare. And that is a gamechanger in the business if you ask me. The last lady I spoke to said her biggest challenge has been the space she is leasing and the headache of renovation and meeting code and requirements. I've spoken to planning and zoning and the city already and for my space, all I need is a business license. The owners renovated it 6 months before moving their practice out of town.

Thank you for your reply!

tag

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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2019, 06:37:35 AM »
As for your situation - youíre FI, partner works, you can take a risk or 2.  Worst case, you spin your wheels on a few years of low to no returns and you still have an asset to sell at the end.  You seem to want to do something more, so why not take a shot at this?

As a business, the coworking space is really hot right now, like ridiculous popularity.  Also the drop your kid off to a play zone and drink coffee/work in the next room over is the same way. Ridiculous popularity on these places. 

If your area doesnít have it yet, why not be the one to start it? 

As for the commercial property, make sure you have a good tenant in place for the other unit.  And make sure that you can re rent your own business space in the event you want to stop working again.  It might not be the best real estate investment in the world, but you arenít bankrupting yourself on it.

So.  Go for it. 

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Thanks. That is basically what I thought when I read your first reply :)

The only reason not to start is because my husband is terrified. Slightly less terrified than he used to be. But still shivering in the corner. He wants to retire in a year or two - and here I am starting all over. But, this is a passion project for me.

Upstairs tenant would be short term vacation rental, not 12 month lease. There is a separate entrance.

Re-renting the downstairs as commercial when I am done is completely unpredictable. It could move very quickly or it could be vacant for a couple of years. I don't know how to possibly predict how long I want to play this game or who else could be looking for space when I'm done. The only thing I can think to do there to minimize risk is list for sale or lease 1-2 years before I think I'm done. I can always decline offers if I end up wanting to stay longer. I got an interesting piece of advice here once - if you own commercial real estate, it's always for sale. The man I spoke to said when he closes as a buyer, he lists as a seller the very next day. It's always on the market. Thought that was interesting.

Malkynn

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2019, 06:40:48 AM »
Your business plan seems fine, but I think you may be drastically under estimating how much energy a business like that will be to run. That's A LOT of moving parts to manage, and a lot of opportunity for you to have to step in and work if staff get sick or quit.

I would look very carefully at the market for the type of staff you need, how easily someone could be replaced if needed,and be prepared that that can change wildly with changes in the economy.

Do the staff you require need a particular certification or on the job training? How long does it take to train/be certified?

Where I am, we are close to zero unemployment and a lot of business owners are finding themselves having to cover staff hours because it's so hard to recruit new staff.

It's especially difficult for staffing certain types of licensed employees here because the major school that produced them shut down a few years ago causing a serious shortage. I'm seeing people offer 5-10K signing bonuses for these staff members who make only about $25/hr.

So look carefully at your staffing requirements and how easily you could get sucked into working those hours yourself and assess if that's a risk you are willing to take.

I don't think it's a bad idea at all, I just think it's a highly demanding idea for someone who really doesn't have to work, so be careful that you aren't biting off more than you actually want to chew.

That's A LOT of additional work for a family with kids and an already FT employed spouse. It would be a lot less cumbersome if it was a project that both of you were available to run and work if needed.

ETA: I just saw that your DH wants to retire soon. Is being involved in the business something he wants? Do your collective retirement dreams fit with being tethered to a business and real estate? If the business fails, will you still be FI or would one or both of you need to return to work?

tag

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2019, 06:48:17 AM »
What kind of regulations are there in your area around the child to adult ratio for daycare/childcare? The stay and play - would that be considered a daycare (and subject to limits on the number of kids to adults)? What I'm asking here is for the constraints on the revenue (the number of kids).

And of course the staffing needed (adult childcare workers) is dependent on those ratios. If you're doing drop-in care it might be hard to predict how many adults you'll need at any time, meaning you might be understaffed (and have to turn kids away), or overstaffed (and spending money on employees who are idle because there aren't kids to occupy them).

I can keep up to 7 kids without licensing as a daycare. Which is super because I want my drop-off component to be small. Only 4-6 kids at any given time. I do not want to run a daycare or feel like a daycare in any way. So if there are 4 kids there So I will do everything that a licensed daycare does (fire inspection, CPR, employee background checks etc) except I won't go through state straining (which I expect to be useless) to get the actual license.

My current budget allows for up to 3 employees onsite besides myself for 40 hours/wk. So if there are 5 kids there without their parents (likely 1-2 of them are siblings)...3 employees can handle them as well as oversee everything else.

tag

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2019, 06:58:29 AM »
Your business plan seems fine, but I think you may be drastically under estimating how much energy a business like that will be to run. That's A LOT of moving parts to manage, and a lot of opportunity for you to have to step in and work if staff get sick or quit.

I would look very carefully at the market for the type of staff you need, how easily someone could be replaced if needed,and be prepared that that can change wildly with changes in the economy.

Do the staff you require need a particular certification or on the job training? How long does it take to train/be certified?

Where I am, we are close to zero unemployment and a lot of business owners are finding themselves having to cover staff hours because it's so hard to recruit new staff.

It's especially difficult for staffing certain types of licensed employees here because the major school that produced them shut down a few years ago causing a serious shortage. I'm seeing people offer 5-10K signing bonuses for these staff members who make only about $25/hr.

So look carefully at your staffing requirements and how easily you could get sucked into working those hours yourself and assess if that's a risk you are willing to take.

I don't think it's a bad idea at all, I just think it's a highly demanding idea for someone who really doesn't have to work, so be careful that you aren't biting off more than you actually want to chew.

That's A LOT of additional work for a family with kids and an already FT employed spouse. It would be a lot less cumbersome if it was a project that both of you were available to run and work if needed.

ETA: I just saw that your DH wants to retire soon. Is being involved in the business something he wants? Do your collective retirement dreams fit with being tethered to a business and real estate? If the business fails, will you still be FI or would one or both of you need to return to work?

Yes. I am likely underestimating energy and time involved. And it would not be the first time I'd have done that. I do big things. At 15 years old I rode my bike from Seattle to Portland. In my 20s I paid a guard 200 yuan to sleep on a remote section of the Great Wall of China. I climbed Kilimanjaro by myself. I deliver my babies in my house. Yet you are still right. I am pretty much certain to be biting off more than I can chew here. Again.

No certifications or training required. The job description is to be a Mom: engage with children when it makes sense to, re-set different areas when it makes sense, call an impromptu story time when there is a lull in play and read for an hour not 2 books, connect with parents who come in....listen to them, get to know them, sit and chat with them - socialize. I intend to try to hire other homeschooling parents. In many situations, they could bring their kids.

We are a small resort town. Jobs are hard to find unless you're in construction. I don't know yet whether or not it will be hard to find staff.

I think I have to do this. Whether it's a success or not. I don't think I have a choice. My heart strings are being tugged so hard, I just can't ignore it. I left the workforce at 30 to have a bunch of kids. I'm not having more. And I wasn't done. I have more to learn and more to practice professionally.

I think it's very realistic to do this and love for 5 years, start to get burned out and then sell the business and the building.

tag

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2019, 07:01:18 AM »
Your business plan seems fine, but I think you may be drastically under estimating how much energy a business like that will be to run. 

P.S. I'm thinking about naming the place "Energy".  :)

Malkynn

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2019, 07:16:36 AM »
You seem pretty decided.

Don't take this as me being negative, I'm just an extremely pragmatic person, but here's my take on the bottom line of your situation:

Which is more likely to lead to divorce?
1: You not doing this and being resentful that you didn't because your DH was terrified?

OR

2: Your DH resenting you for doing this despite him being terrified?

Because really, unless you are ultra-fat-FI, then divorce is the biggest risk I see when looking at your plan from either the do it or don't do it sides.

No need to reply to me, you don't need to share your personal details about your marriage or finances. I'm sharing this perspective not to be critical, but to help you look at it through a lense of long term priorities and life satisfaction. 

Your risk here really isn't in the numbers of the business itself, your risk is the impact on your personal life. Only you can assess what risks are worth it on that front.

MarciaB

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2019, 08:24:05 AM »
I'm curious about what you'll be charging for the Stay and Play, for the Co-Work space and the drop-off care. About market rates for daycare in your town? Twice that? Something in between?


PoutineLover

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2019, 08:43:45 AM »
Cool idea, if done well I think it could be very popular.
I used to volunteer in the child care section of a gym, parents would come to work out or shop in the attached grocery store and drop off their kids. I was in high school, I had no official training, just some babysitting experience and CPR course, and there was always a paid staff member there. I got a free gym membership for volunteering a couple hours a week. One thing you could consider is offering some members the opportunity to volunteer for a couple hours to be able to use the space and drop off their own kids for a couple hours. Saves on staff costs and creates a bit more of a community. You'd probably still need at least one paid person at all times, but this could increase capacity without increasing costs by as much.
Business wise, I think it's a great opportunity and I imagine it would be popular as long as it's priced right and set up in a convenient way. If you had an app where people could see live how many spots are available and book a spot that would be cool. And having people book in advance would help you with scheduling. Also, consider which hours you'd be open, and when there's demand, including evenings and weekends. I can see this working for people who want to run errands or participate in sports and be able to drop their kids off instead of having to get a babysitter.
Let us know what you decide and how it works out!

tag

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2019, 02:47:15 PM »
Cool idea, if done well I think it could be very popular.
I used to volunteer in the child care section of a gym, parents would come to work out or shop in the attached grocery store and drop off their kids. I was in high school, I had no official training, just some babysitting experience and CPR course, and there was always a paid staff member there. I got a free gym membership for volunteering a couple hours a week. One thing you could consider is offering some members the opportunity to volunteer for a couple hours to be able to use the space and drop off their own kids for a couple hours. Saves on staff costs and creates a bit more of a community. You'd probably still need at least one paid person at all times, but this could increase capacity without increasing costs by as much.
Business wise, I think it's a great opportunity and I imagine it would be popular as long as it's priced right and set up in a convenient way. If you had an app where people could see live how many spots are available and book a spot that would be cool. And having people book in advance would help you with scheduling. Also, consider which hours you'd be open, and when there's demand, including evenings and weekends. I can see this working for people who want to run errands or participate in sports and be able to drop their kids off instead of having to get a babysitter.
Let us know what you decide and how it works out!

Yes, an app would be amazing. Very expensive though based on only initial research. But I will absolutely set up reserving/payment for drop off in advance via website. I think stay and play would be first come first serve.

I considered kind of a volunteer/co-op set up....and I think that is a great idea as one element of pricing structure, thanks for bringing it back to my radar. I hadn't thought about it from the perspective of creating culture. I do want to have a core set of families who come and connect with each other in the space regularly - and I want it to be very very cheap for them to do so.

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. This forum is a gold mine for anyone with an idea.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2019, 04:58:25 PM »
One thing that I ran into when I started my first (really small) business, was underestimating the cost of advertising.  How do you plan on advertising?  Facebook?  Google?  Word of mouth?  I think your business plan is sound, but you must be prepared for it to take either longer to take off (if you spend very little on advertising) or cost a lot more to take off quickly (heavily pumping the advertising $).

I have actually considered a similar business plan for my community, so I definitely like where you're going with your concept.

tag

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2019, 06:19:56 PM »
One thing that I ran into when I started my first (really small) business, was underestimating the cost of advertising.  How do you plan on advertising?  Facebook?  Google?  Word of mouth?  I think your business plan is sound, but you must be prepared for it to take either longer to take off (if you spend very little on advertising) or cost a lot more to take off quickly (heavily pumping the advertising $).

I have actually considered a similar business plan for my community, so I definitely like where you're going with your concept.

Great point. I do have marketing/advertising in my budget. At first I will use anything free. But then as the business grows and when I'm ready for it, I'll put more in that bucket - particularly to draw in customers for space rental.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2019, 04:40:16 AM »
<...> and I want it to be very very cheap for them to do so.

In general, you shouldn't be too cheap compared to the rest of the market. If you want to offer a quality service, people expect quality to have a high price. Being cheap could lead to them not taking you seriously.

tag

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2019, 06:55:13 AM »
<...> and I want it to be very very cheap for them to do so.

In general, you shouldn't be too cheap compared to the rest of the market. If you want to offer a quality service, people expect quality to have a high price. Being cheap could lead to them not taking you seriously.

Agree. I only want to be cheap (inexpensive) for my regulars who buy 10-20 passes upfront.

Frznrth

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2019, 07:48:30 AM »
My home province, Alberta, has been trialing $20 a day childcare for parents - subsidised childcare.  It has been very successful and helpful to parents - long waiting lists and public demand to expand.  Any "danger" of something like this coming to where you are?

moneytaichi

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2019, 10:28:10 PM »
You seem pretty decided.

Don't take this as me being negative, I'm just an extremely pragmatic person, but here's my take on the bottom line of your situation:

Which is more likely to lead to divorce?
1: You not doing this and being resentful that you didn't because your DH was terrified?

OR

2: Your DH resenting you for doing this despite him being terrified?

Because really, unless you are ultra-fat-FI, then divorce is the biggest risk I see when looking at your plan from either the do it or don't do it sides.

No need to reply to me, you don't need to share your personal details about your marriage or finances. I'm sharing this perspective not to be critical, but to help you look at it through a lense of long term priorities and life satisfaction. 

Your risk here really isn't in the numbers of the business itself, your risk is the impact on your personal life. Only you can assess what risks are worth it on that front.

I'd second @Malkynn for your benefits. You sound very passionate to your idea, which is a danger for a successful business. Consider to cool down a little and talk to some volunteers in SCORE.org to get the 2nd opinion. There are many ways for meaningful, purposeful, creative work besides this idea. One of common dangers of enterpreneurs is to fall in love with their first business idea.

Also, another risk I see in your business plan is that you are essentially running multiple businesses under one roof. This would require steep learning and MORE energy. I have not heard any small business owners who just put in 40 hours a week at the beginning, not to mention learning multiple businesses.

Please do not take our advise as an attack to your business plan. We love to see you succeed, in your business AND in your life :-)
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 10:34:35 PM by moneytaichi »

cchrissyy

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Re: Please face-punch the hell out of my business plan
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2019, 10:38:59 AM »
It sounds like you are counting paying rent to yourself as part of the business income.
It may work on paper but in real life what you will feel is money moving from one pocket to the other. Not an increase.  The only way it would result in more actual money is if that $3k is significantly less than what you are used to paying for housing. Is it?


The place you want to run sounds nice.  I think it is FAR too many things to run at once. Maybe in 5 years it could be all that but at the start you'll only be able to do a few of those things, and each will be more work, more research, more bumps in the road than you expect.


And that's before considering the homeschooling and supervising 4 small kids! I agree with whoever said the biggest risk here probably isn't destruction of your finances but rather lowering the quality of life for everybody. You'll be distracted from your kids by the business. You'll be distracted from your business by the kids. Do you want to these years of their childhood to be primarily spent in a coworking space? And living on site? Will the new demands on your time and attention and managing business money stress you out? Will it cut into your time with friends, extended family, exercise, sleep, whatever?

I see you said the below, so I won't hammer on it any harder except to say if it's a dealbreaker, then consider it broken, because it's not realistic that any new business owner will work under 60/week and it's not realistic that within a year or two you could step back. Everything will take longer than you want. It will be many years before you take a single vacation.
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My numbers include 3 well paid part time employees. Me being onsite 60 hours/week is a dealbreaker for me and I won't do it if that is required. Though I will commit to that willingly for the first 12-18 months to make sure it all grows the way I want it to.